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"Good doggie"

Doggy for a Day
by the Phantom

This is Chief, or at least that's what we called him. I first saw him on the 5th of July. It was early when I got up that morning, even though I hadn't slept well. There were lots of fireworks the night before, some creepy neighbors had been lighting M80s and rockets well into the night. When I went to my patio door to go out for the newspaper, there stood Chief, staring at me through the window.

He looked thoughtfully at me and I knew at once that this was not a doggie that I should be afraid of. But I sent my husband outside to talk to him and see what he wanted. I watched as Dale held out his hand. Chief licked it and then sat down as if to say, "Hi there. I'm a really good dog, but I'm a dog with a problem. I'm lost. Can you help me."

Our backyard is not gated. There is a longish driveway the runs down the side of our house and then you can just walk into our patio. That's what Chief had done. The window is just German Shepard height and he was checking to see if anybody was awake, or something told him that the people who lived in this house were early risers and might be able to help him.

So we gave Chief a bowl of water and some canned cat food, the only pet food we have on hand. By then our cats were interested even though not terribly happy to see their breakfast heading out into the patio and into the stomach of the huge furry beast outside their door. Our cats are indoor pets and this was one day that they had no desire to sneak out. Chief could care less about cats, indoor or out. He was thirsty and hungry and he gulped down his yummy breakfast, as if to tell us what a rare treat it was.

Dale and I talked things over for a few minutes and then Dale decided to take Chief for a walk around the neighborhood to see if the two of them could figure out where he lived. I thought it might be a little too early for anybody to be up and looking out the window for dog walkers, but just maybe Chief's family would be worried by this time, which was just after six am. On the other hand, they could still be sleeping peacefully, not even knowing that their beloved pet had somehow become lost.

Dale came home about an hour later, with Chief. No luck. Chief settled into the backyard for a little rest under our small maple tree. At eight, I decided that it was my turn to take him round the neighborhood. Chief and I walked patiently up and down all the nearby streets. He seemed to love walking, and was well trained to the leash. He did want to stop and pee at every Junniper bush but that's just doggie stuff. I let him have his fun, if there was nobody looking, and then we moved on.

I took him through the Rose Garden where all the other dog walkers go and asked everybody who stopped to admire the handsome dog if they recognized him. I even offered to give him to a really nice man who was walking two other Shepards. He looked him over carefully before declining my offer.

Next I went to our local Starbucks because I needed a drink by then. I tied him to an outside table, bought myself a coffee and brought out a big glass of water for Chief. Apparently Chief likes Starbucks too. He waited patiently, lapped up his water and licked the ice cubes. Customers complimented me on my beautiful and well behaved doggie. Nobody recognized him.

So back home we went. By this time, Chief was walking a little slower and was ignoring the Junnipers so I knew he was getting tired. When we got to our driveway Chief led the way down it, like he knew beforehand just were to turn. That amazed me because if he knew where our home was, why in heck couldn't he find his way to his own house?

We were meeting our kids for lunch at the local Mexican place so we had a family council over enchilladas and beer. Topic: what to do with Chief. Dale had already called the Pound. They had had no reports of lost Sheps but would keep our info on hand. Dale knows the people at the Pound and they told him they were filled with lost animals just then. It was a zoo (no pun intended) down there. It was decided that we would take Chief's photo (see above) and make up some fliers to put up around the neighborhood. We would keep walking Chief in hopes that his family would eventually spot him, and the third thing we would do is put his info on Craig's List. I rolled by eyes at that one. That's about the last place I would look for a lost pet, but whatever.

In the meantime, Chief was still resting in our yard under the maple when we got home, even though he could have just as easily walked away, but of course, he still didn't know the way. It was a hot day and that was the coolest spot. Dale was in charge of the photo. We made up the fliers and the kids took them to post. Then Dale did the Craig's Listing.

Ten minutes after Dale posted the listing, we got a phone call. "You have our dog," the person said. "I just saw him on my computer." (Who knew! I was so wrong!) Twenty minutes later they were at our door. They live about four blocks from us, but across a busy street we hadn't thought of crossing. They laughed when they found us, their cousin lives across the street from us. She would have known the dog if she saw him.

They loaded Chief, whom they called Samson, into the back of their RV. He had a hard time getting up into the car. Apparently Chief is getting up in years. He gave us a look of thanks from the back window and off they went.

The next day they came back to see us with a plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies and a hand drawn card that their kids are made for us, thanking us for taking such good care of their wonderful doggie for them.

It was our pleasure. It's not often such a wonderful pal comes into our lives.

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